🚨 Jillian Ludwig of Wall Township is a freshman at Belmont University in Nashville

🚨 She was struck by a stray bullet while walking in a park

🚨 Metro Nashville police are deciding on additional charges for the gunman

A college student from New Jersey who was shot in the head while she walked in a Nashville park has died.

Jillian Ludwig, 18, a freshman at Belmont University was walking on a track in Nashville's Edgehill Community Memorial Gardens Park Tuesday when she was struck by a stray bullet. She was in extremely critical condition at Vanderbilt Med Center, according to police.

Metro Nashville police announced her death on their social media Thursday morning.

Charges for accused gunman

Shaquille Taylor, 29, is charged with aggravated assault and evidence tampering. He is being held on $280,000 bond in a Nashville jail.

"Jillian Ludwig passed away during the night. We are in discussion with the District Attorney's Office concerning modified charges against Shaquille Taylor," police wrote on X.

Approximately 500 attended a vigil for her at the North Wall Little League Complex Wednesday night. The event was organized by Gary Pollack at the request of Jillan's mother.

"She asked me Wednesday morning to pray for her daughter. After I talked to a few friends we decided to to get the whole community together to pray. We were able to organize a vigil Wednesday night to pray because at that point we were still hoping for miracles," Pollack told New Jersey 101.5.

A vigil was also held at Belmont University on Wednesday led by the Christian school's president Greg Jones and attended by Nashville Mayor Freddie O'Connell.

"Events like this can bring us together. They can be occasions to build bridges, rather than making us bitter they can make us better as we cry out to God.”

O’Connell thanked the university for its hospitality in he city and said “today is our chance to stand with you.”

In a statement Thursday morning Lee said Ludwig's death is a lot to process.

"We grapple now with grief, anger, anxiety and a strong sense of fear in the face of senseless violence," Lee wrote. "We will be working with campus leaders and area pastors to organize additional resources to assist our community over the next few days and throughout the weekend. More on those plans, as well as a time to remember and celebrate Jillian’s life, will be announced when available."

Vigil at Belmont University
Vigil at Belmont University (Braden Simmons)

"Vibrant, loving, musically gifted"

Wall Township Board of Education President Christine Steitz said in a letter that Jillian will always be remembered as she lived: vibrant, loving, musically gifted, adventureous, loyal and kind.

"She was often a fixture at school and local gatherings, sharing her gift of song, elevating special events with her musicianship and spirit of fellowship," Steitz wrote.

Mental Health Association counselors are available at Wall Township High School Thursday and Friday.

NJ college student shot in Nashville TN(Jillian Ludwig via Facebook)
(Jillian Ludwig via Facebook)

Change in the family fabric

"Her fearlessness, spontaneity, love of laughter, kindness and compassion make her irreplaceable to our family. Losing her would forever change the fabric of our lives," Jillian's aunt, Geri Wainwright, told Nashville TV station WSMV TV.

She also questioned why Taylor, who has a record of violent offenses, was free at the time of the shooting.

"What kind of world do we live in where it’s not safe to take a walk near your college dorm in broad daylight? How could someone so carelessly dim the light of a star destined to shine so bright?”

Taylor has been charged criminally several times in the past. In 2021, Taylor was charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon after he and another man were accused of shooting at a female driver while her two children were in the back seat.

At least two rounds struck the vehicle. Earlier this year, a Nashville judge dismissed those charges, and Taylor was released after court-appointed doctors testified that he was incompetent to stand trial. Federal and state law prohibit the prosecution of mentally incompetent defendants


Vigil for Jillian Ludwig in Wall Township
Vigil for Jillian Ludwig in Wall Township (Gary Pollack)

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